For the first time in Russian football history, a female referee will preside over a men’s reserve game between CSKA Moscow and Lokomotiv Moscow, according to Russian Football Union.
Anastasia Pustovoitova, one of the eight FIFA-certified female Russian referees, will take charge of the game on Friday. She has already worked at women’s international matches, the final of the 2010 women’s under-17 European Championships, but this is her first men's game.
It is interesting that previously Pustovoitova expressed her skeptical attitude to the idea of women refereeing men’s matches. "My opinion is that only male referees should work in Russian men’s football,” the Futbol Segodnya website quoted her in February 2011.
But the head of refereeing at the Russian Football Union, Roberto Rosetti, regards it as a useful experience and the beginning of a brand new era in Russian football. “If everything turns out successfully for them, then we can advance women to the top flight,” he stated last week.
While Russia is only making the first steps in that direction, Western Europe already has its heroes. In England, Amy Fearn became the first woman to take charge of a men’s Football League game when she replaced an injured referee in a Championship clash between Coventry City and Nottingham Forest in 2010. It should be pointed out that her refereeing was highly valued both by players and football fans.
Author: Julia Alieva